I did a very quick post on this cake last year but at that point I hadn’t actually cooked it yet. Now, however, I have! I made this cake for someone at my office. It was my first fruitcake and the first cake I’ve ever covered in marzipan and icing! I’m very proud of myself. It certainly went down a treat as I’m due to be making another one for another colleague this week!
The great thing about this cake is that is it so very, very simple. I spread it over three days but you could easily do it in one with the right scheduling. I simmer the fruits day 1, mix and cook the cake day 2 and then ice on day 3. However, I see no reason you couldn’t simmer the fruits of a morning, cook the cake in the late afternoon and then ice it in the evening… if you have the time that is! For me, grabbing snatches of time over a few days works best, especially at this busy time of year.
No matter how organised I thought I was, Christmas has once again snuck up on me and hit me full force. Yesterday we went to pick out and dig up our tree. Today we’re going to the Panto, (York Theatre Royal, the best Panto in the UK! If you physically can go, you should!) then on Wednesday it’s my sister’s Birthday and on Saturday I am hosting my first dinner at my house for my family, there will be Carol Singing and a Brass Band in the market place and then dinner at mine. Like I say, busy, but so much fun!
Makes 1×8″ (20cm) cake
500g mixed dried fruits
125g dates, stoned and chopped (or apricots or prunes, big fruits are what you’re after.)
175g brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
90g glace cherries, chopped
60g chopped mixed nuts
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
– In a large pan melt the butter and then add the dried mixed fruits, dates (or other fruits), sugar, bicarbonate of soda, water, mixed spice and cinnamon.
– Bring this to the boil and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
– Leave the pan, covered, overnight.
– The next day put it in a mixing bowl, or use a machine like a kitchen aid or kenwood chef to do the hard work!
– Add the cherries, nuts and brandy. Mix a little.
– Add the flour and salt and mix in.
– Add the eggs and the baking powder and then mix thoroughly making sure everything is well combined.
– Line an 8″ cake tin with foil, shiny side down, and 2 layers of greaseproof paper.
– Brush lightly with oil.
– Tip in the cake mix and level out the top. Create a small dip in the middle with the back of a spoon to prevent doming.
– Place a small ovenproof dish or tin of water in the bottom of an oven heated to gas mark 2.
– Place the cake in the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours covering the top with foil after 1 hour.
– Test with a skewer to see if it’s done.
– Cool in the tin then turn out and pour on a little more brandy before either wrapping and storing or covering with marzipan and icing.
To ice your cake:
– 3 tbsp apricot jam, melted
– 1 pack readyroll marzipan
– 1 pack readyroll icing
– Place your cake upside down on a cakeboard.
– Brush the top with apricot glaze.
– Unroll your marzipan and smooth hour any wrinkles.
– Fold it back over a rolling pin and use the rolling pin to lift it over to your cake and carefully place centrally on the top.
– Smooth down the sides using your hands. Gently does it. You don’t want any pleats in there. The heat of your hand should ease the marzipan into place. If it goes wrong and pleats then make sure you trim and smooth it.
– Trim off the marzipan at the base of the cake. If you have any gaps at the bottom of your cake you could use the marzipan to fill them.
– Next unroll the icing. Again, smooth out any wrinkles and lift across with the rolling pin.
– Again, ease the icing smoothly over the cake using your hands to smooth it all out. This is easier than with the marzipan.
– Trim round the bottom of the cake with a very sharp knife.
– Decorate as you wish!